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When Your Healthy Diet Isn't So Healthy

Trying to eat healthier? Great. Just avoid these 9 common diet mistakes.

6. Diet Martyrdom

How many of us have punished ourselves for putting on a few pounds by going into a state of denial? We deny ourselves sweets, fats, and just about every food that makes us happy.

Cutting out your favorite foods only sets you up for failure. When you feel hungry all the time, you're more likely to binge. "I think it's really unrealistic for most people to eat that way for the long-term," Nolan says.

Fix it: Don't give up your favorite foods. Just eat them in moderation.

"It's all about small splurges without being overindulgent when it comes to very calorie-dense foods," Greaves says. She suggests combining sweets with healthy foods, like drizzling melted chocolate over strawberries, or adding a few chocolate chips into your granola.

7. Gorging on Grazing

Another recent dieting trend is substituting six small snacks for the old three meals a day.

Grazing does have advantages. It keeps your blood sugar level stable throughout the day, so you don’t get as hungry.

The trouble with grazing is that you're eating throughout the day, which can spell calorie trouble.

"If you're used to eating fuller meals and then you start grazing, I think it's very easy to graze on larger quantities than what you should be eating," Nolan says. "So you might end up eating more calories."

Fix it: Pace yourself. Eat mini-meals about every two to three hours, limiting each to 200-300 calories.

8. Unsustainable Approach to Weight Loss

If you're trying to lose weight, do it in a way that's going to last. Or the pounds are going to come back.

"I think when you're going on a diet, the most important thing is to find a way of eating that suits your lifestyle," Greaves says. "Ask yourself when it comes to any new diet, 'Can I eat this way for the rest of my life?' If the answer is 'no,' that's probably not the diet for you."

Fix it: If you want to lose weight, instead of going on a radical diet, make tiny changes in your life. Add more fresh fruits and vegetables to your meals. Eat a healthy breakfast every morning -- a habit that research shows can help control your weight.

Move more, too. Aim for 30-60 minutes of exercise into every day. "Tiny little changes are the ones that will have the biggest results for your long-term health," Greaves says.

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Reviewed on July 18, 2011

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